Before You Post Something Derogatory About Shopping On Thanksgiving…
Let me tell you a few stories.
On Christmas Day, 1999, I was waking up alone. My 4-year old child was spending Christmas with his Dad and I was bored and bitter and jealous of my friend who worked at a breakfast place down the road because – at least she could make money on Christmas. I worked in a lab at my college so I was alone AND unable to work to make money. Our pitiful Christmas tree that year was filled with presents from the Dollar Store because we had also been closed over Thanksgiving break and my November paycheck was smaller than usual. Making extra money that time of year would have been perfect. I had another friend who had to work that day and was missing Christmas with her family and – while I felt bad for her because she was irritated about missing family time – she also joked that half of her friends had offered to wear wigs and pose as her that day, but only if they could keep the tips they made.
One of my last Christmases at home, where I was raised by a single Dad and had a brother, we were bored after the 30-minute Christmas present opening session. It was cold and rainy and we decided to drive around town to see if there was any place open for breakfast. We were thrilled to find a Denny’s that was open and we had a great meal there while with several elderly single customers. Dad tipped really well.
I have only ever gone shopping on Black Friday once in my life. I hate shopping and I always avoid it. When I was out that day I noticed clans of women – usually a few generations – traveling in packs. I realized that the whole Black Friday thing was often about saving money, but mostly about a fun – often family – adventure for those people who liked shopping. I suddenly became jealous of all of those people.
Points to Consider
- There are a lot of minimum wage workers who have paychecks smaller than usual right around the holidays, just because the place where they work is closed and maybe they were shorted a shift. Big stores sometimes have an employee base where they can try to give off the people who want it off – and trust me – there are PLENTY OF PEOPLE who want to work those days. Edited to add clarification: I do not mean this as a blanket statement…I have some friends who chose to work, and some who asked for it off at big chains and several friends got what they asked. SO! I only mean that locally and sometimes. This was pointed out in the comments so I added the clarification. So, yes…while many would like the day off to spend with their families…they don’t get paid for that day off like you do. They don’t get paid holidays. If their store/restaurant/etc is closed on a Holiday, they get to see their families, but they also have to hope they get an extra shift elsewhere in the week to make up for it on their paycheck.
- There are a LOT of non-traditional families around you. Single people who don’t have family, or can’t afford to travel to see family for a one-day holiday. Those people sit at home all day and can’t even run out for an I’m Bored trip to the store because everything is closed. And the reminder of everything that is closed is also a reminder that they’re alone or different from the rest of their community. They aren’t trying to crap on their family by shopping at Target, they’re trying to just have a normal day since it’s just Thursday in their world.
- A lot of those crazy people who get out to bargain shop? Are doing it in groups with friends and/or family. They aren’t ditching their family at the dinner table to buy a gaming console, they’re enjoying some fun after a day of feeding their family. Or maybe it’s their escape/therapy. There are a lot of sisters and mothers/daughters or best friends heading out for a fun trip together. It’s not some lone crazy woman leaving a family of 6 starving to death at home while they get a good deal on a tablet.
- Movie Theaters are open on Christmas so families can go see movies together. I know dozens of families who love seeing movies with their family Christmas evening. Why is that an okay holiday outing where it’s okay to ask people to work their job at the theater? I think groups going shopping together are probably actually talking to each other, which is usually a more fruitful family outing than quietly watching a movie. If you don’t judge people who see movies on Christmas, then I don’t see how you can judge people who shop on Thanksgiving.
In Summary – If you have a job that is paying you for your Thanksgiving Holiday: Be Thankful. If you have a family and are enjoying their company all day and would have no desire to leave them to shop on Thanksgiving? Be Thankful. If you think those crazy Christmas shopping crowds are terrifying and therefore do all of your shopping online to avoid them? Be Thankful. And if you have to go to Target or some store on Thanksgiving – or ANY day for that matter – remember there’s always a chance the person helping you is missing something – Thanksgiving Dinner, a soccer game, a parent/teacher conference – to do the job you’re watching them do. So, make sure you treat them with kindness and respect. And just Be Thankful that you live a lifestyle where you have the family and the resources to be snarky about people shopping on Thanksgiving.